By Giorgos Palaitsakis
The government will reportedly table a draft bill in the coming period defining the terms and conditions by which coastal tracts of land occupied by squatters over the past decades can be legally transferred to the latter via compensation to the state.
The effort is the latest by the Greek state since 1974 to impose a semblance of legality in one of the most egregious – but lesser known — problems in the country, namely, illegal land use, appropriate of public lands and unlicensed construction in area outside town planning zones.
The scourge is a direct result of the fact that Greece still lacks a unified and functional cadastre (land registry) throughout its territory, and despite billions of euros worth of resources spent – including EU funds – since 1981 towards the goal.
According to the 130-page draft bill, nearly 25,500 tracts of land are eligible for purchase, from the state, by squatters or homesteaders that built on the coastal property.
The draft bill was unveiled on Wednesday by the outgoing alternate minister.
Another provision in the draft bill foresees the creation of a property value registry, which will rely on current commercial values. Ostensibly, the registry will also be used to assess objective tax criteria for tax purposes.
In terms of coastal tracts and land along rivers and lakes, which is usually of higher value, a joint ministerial decision includes terms, conditions and the process for bestowing non-commercial use.